DOB: Servicial Group Corporation d/b/a Servicial, Hector Chica, Celina Romero, Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Impose Civil Penalty

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IN THE MATTER OF:

SERVICIAL GROUP CORPORATION
d/b/a SERVICIAL ("Servicial")

HECTOR CHICA ("Chica")

CELINA ROMERO ("Romero")

    (Collectively "Respondents")

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NOTICE OF INTENT TO ISSUE
ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST

NOTICE OF INTENT TO IMPOSE
CIVIL PENALTY

AND

NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING


I.  LEGAL AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION

The Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Part IV of Chapter 668, Sections 36a-580 to 36a-589, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes, “Check Cashing Services”, and Sections 36a-585-1, 36a-588-1, 36a-588-3 and 36a-588-4 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (“Regulations”).
 
Pursuant to the authority granted by Section 36a-17 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division (“Division”) of the Department of Banking, has investigated the activities of Respondents to determine if Respondents have violated, are violating or are about to violate the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes and Regulations within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner.  Section 36a-17(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes states that:
The commissioner, in the commissioner’s discretion, may make such public or private investigations or examinations within or outside this state, concerning any person subject to the jurisdiction of the commissioner, as the commissioner deems necessary to carry out the duties of the commissioner.
Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part:
Whenever it appears to the commissioner that any person has violated, is violating or is about to violate any provision of the general statutes within the jurisdiction of the commissioner, . . . the commissioner may send a notice to such person by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or by any express delivery carrier that provides a dated delivery receipt.  The notice shall be deemed received by the person on the earlier of the date of actual receipt, or seven days after mailing or sending.  Any such notice shall include:  (1) A statement of the time, place, and nature of the hearing; (2) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held; (3) a reference to the particular sections of the general statutes, [or] regulations . . . alleged to have been violated; (4) a short and plain statement of the matters asserted; and (5) a statement indicating that such person may file a written request for a hearing on the matters asserted within fourteen days of receipt of the notice.  If a hearing is requested within the time specified in the notice, the commissioner shall hold a hearing upon the matters asserted in the notice, unless the person fails to appear at the hearing.  After the hearing, the commissioner shall determine whether an order to cease and desist should be issued against the person named in the notice.  If the person does not request a hearing within the time specified in the notice or fails to appear at the hearing, the commissioner shall issue an order to cease and desist against the person.  No such order shall be issued except in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.
Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part:
(1)  Whenever the commissioner finds as the result of an investigation that any person has violated any provision of the general statutes within the jurisdiction of the commissioner, or any regulation . . . adopted . . . thereunder, the commissioner may send a notice to such person by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or by any express delivery carrier that provides a dated delivery receipt.  The notice shall be deemed received by the person on the earlier of the date of actual receipt or seven days after mailing or sending.  Any such notice shall include:  (A) A statement of the time, place, and nature of the hearing; (B) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held; (C) a reference to the particular sections of the general statutes, [or] regulations . . . alleged to have been violated; (D) a short and plain statement of the matters asserted; (E) the maximum penalty that may be imposed for such violation; and (F) a statement indicating that such person may file a written request for a hearing on the matters asserted within fourteen days of receipt of the notice.
(2)  If a hearing is requested within the time specified in the notice, the commissioner shall hold a hearing upon the matters asserted in the notice unless such person fails to appear at the hearing.  After the hearing, if the commissioner finds that the person has violated any such provision, [or] regulation . . . the commissioner may, in the commissioner’s discretion and in addition to any other remedy authorized by law, order that a civil penalty not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars per violation be imposed upon such person.  If such person does not request a hearing within the time specified in the notice or fails to appear at the hearing, the commissioner may, as the facts require, order that a civil penalty not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars per violation be imposed upon such person.
(3)  Each action undertaken by the commissioner under this subsection shall be in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.


II.  MATTERS ASSERTED
1.
Servicial is a Connecticut corporation with its main office at 25 South Main Street, Norwalk, Connecticut.
2.
John M. Gonzalez (“Gonzalez”) at all times relevant to this matter was the President of Servicial.
3. During the period from July 1, 2007 to September 30, 2009, Servicial was licensed pursuant to Section 36a-581(a) of the then applicable Connecticut General Statutes to operate a general facility to engage in the business of cashing checks, drafts and money orders at 267 Main Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut (License No. 16868) (“Main Avenue”); 25 South Main Street, Norwalk, Connecticut (License No. 16870) (“South Main Street)”; and 300 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut (License No. 16871) (“Fairfield Avenue”), which licenses expired on September 30, 2009.
4. Chica is an individual whose address last known to the Commissioner is 291 Handover Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut.
5. Romero is an individual whose address last known to the Commissioner is 92-11 35th Avenue, Apt. 6G, Jackson Heights, New York.
6. On or about March 2008, Servicial ceased doing business at Main Avenue, but never surrendered its license for such location to the Commissioner.
7. On June 3, 2008, Gonzalez and Sol Gonzalez sold or transferred Servicial’s location and business at Fairfield Avenue to Chica.
8. On August 18, 2008, the Division conducted an examination of Servicial at each of its three licensed locations.
9. On September 22, 2008, the Division forwarded a Report of Examination as a result of the examination described in paragraph 8 above (“Report of Examination”) to Servicial and requested a response to such Report of Examination.  The Division did not receive a response.
10. On or about January 2009, Gonzalez and Sol Gonzalez sold or transferred Servicial’s location and business at South Main Street to Romero.
11. On January 7, 2009, the Division sent a letter to Servicial requesting a response to the issues raised in the Report of Examination.
12. On January 28, 2009, the Division received a written response from Servicial in connection with the January 7, 2009 letter, as more full described in paragraph 11, which response failed to respond to all of the issues raised in the Report of Examination.
13. During the period of September 30 to December 15, 2009, Chica and Romero engaged in the business of cashing checks, drafts and money orders for consideration.
14.
Chica and Romero are not currently and never have been licensed pursuant to Section 36a-581(a) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes to operate a general facility or a limited facility for each location where such business is to be conducted, nor are Chica or Romero eligible to claim an exemption therefrom.
 
 
III.  STATUTORY BASIS FOR ORDER TO
CEASE AND DESIST AND IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
 
Section 36a-17(d) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
Any person who is the subject of any such . . . examination . . . [under Section 36a-17(a)] shall . . . otherwise cooperate with the commissioner.
Section 36a-581(a) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes provides:
Except as provided for in section 36a-580, no person shall engage in the business of cashing checks, drafts or money orders for consideration without obtaining a license to operate a general facility or a license to operate a limited facility for each location where such business is to be conducted.
Section 36a-583 of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
Not later than fifteen days after a licensee ceases to engage in this state in the business of cashing checks, drafts or money orders for consideration at a general facility or limited facility for any reason, including, but not limited to, a business decision to terminate operations in this state, license revocation, bankruptcy or voluntary dissolution, such licensee shall surrender to the commissioner in person or by registered or certified mail its license for each location in which such licensee has ceased to engage in such business.
Section 36a-587(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
Whenever it appears to the commissioner that any person has violated, is violating or is about to violate any of the provisions of sections 36a-580 to 36a-589, inclusive, or any regulation adopted pursuant to said sections . . . the commissioner may take action against such person . . . in accordance with sections 36a-50 and 36a-52.
1.
Servicial’s failure to fully cooperate with the Commissioner during the course of an examination, as more fully described in paragraphs 8, 9, 11 and 12 of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-17(d) of the Connecticut General Statutes, which violation forms the basis for the issuance of an order to cease and desist against Servicial pursuant to Sections 36a-587(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and an order imposing civil penalty pursuant to Sections 36a-587(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes authorizes the Commissioner to impose a civil penalty upon Servicial in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation.  The Commissioner intends to impose a civil penalty upon Servicial in an amount not to exceed Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000), subject to Servicial’s right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
2.
Servicial’s failure to surrender its license to the Commissioner after ceasing to engage in the business of cashing checks, drafts or money orders for consideration at a general facility at its Main Avenue location, as more fully described in paragraph 6 of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-583 of the Connecticut General Statutes, which violation forms the basis for the issuance of an order to cease and desist against Servicial pursuant to Sections 36a-587(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and an order imposing civil penalty pursuant to Sections 36a-587(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes authorizes the Commissioner to impose a civil penalty upon Servicial in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation.  The Commissioner intends to impose a civil penalty upon Servicial in an amount not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000), subject to Servicial’s right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
3.
Chica’s and Romero’s engaging in the business of cashing checks, drafts and money orders for consideration without licensure for a general facility or limited facility, as more fully described in paragraphs 13 and 14 of the Matters Asserted, constitute violations of Section 36a-581(a) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, which form the basis for the issuance of orders to cease and desist against Chica and Romero pursuant to Sections 36a-587(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and orders imposing civil penalty upon Chica and Romero pursuant to Sections 36a-587(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes authorizes the Commissioner to impose a civil penalty upon Chica and Romero in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation.  The Commissioner intends to impose a civil penalty upon Chica in an amount not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), subject to Chica’s right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above, and impose a civil penalty upon Romero in an amount not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), subject to Romero’s right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
 

IV.  NOTICE OF INTENT TO ISSUE ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST,
NOTICE OF INTENT TO IMPOSE CIVIL PENALTY AND
NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING
 
WHEREAS, the Commissioner has determined that Servicial has violated Sections 36a-17(d) and 36a-583 of the Connecticut General Statutes, which forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist against Servicial pursuant to Sections 36a-587(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and an order imposing civil penalty upon Servicial pursuant to Sections 36a-587(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
AND WHEREAS, the Commissioner has determined that Chica and Romero have each violated Section 36a-581(a) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, which forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist against Chica and Romero pursuant to Sections 36a-587(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and an order imposing civil penalty upon Chica and Romero pursuant to Sections 36a-587(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.

NOW THEREFORE,
notice is hereby given to Servicial that the Commissioner intends to issue an order requiring Servicial to CEASE AND DESIST from failing to cooperate with the Commissioner during the course of an examination in violation of Section 36a-17(d) of the Connecticut General Statutes and failing to surrender its license after ceasing to do business, in violation of Section 36a-583 of the Connecticut General Statutes, and that the Commissioner intends to impose a CIVIL PENALTY upon Servicial as set forth herein, subject to its right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
 
FURTHER, notice is hereby given to Chica and Romero that the Commissioner intends to issue an order requiring Chica and Romero to CEASE AND DESIST from engaging in the business of cashing checks, drafts or money orders for consideration without a license, in violation of Section 36a-581(a) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, and that the Commissioner intends to impose a CIVIL PENALTY upon Chica as set forth herein, subject to Chica’s right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above, and a CIVIL PENALTY upon Romero as set forth herein, subject to Romero’s right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
 
A hearing will be granted to Respondents if a written request for a hearing is received by the Department of Banking, Consumer Credit Division, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800, within fourteen (14) days following each Respondent’s receipt of this Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing as set forth in Sections 36a-52(a) and 36a-50 of the Connecticut General Statutes.  This Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing shall be deemed received on the earlier of the date of actual receipt, or seven days after mailing or sending.  The enclosed Appearance and Request for Hearing Form must be completed and mailed to the above address.  If any Respondent will not be represented by an attorney at the hearing, please complete the Appearance and Request for Hearing Form as “pro se.”  Once a written request for a hearing is received, the Commissioner may issue a notification of hearing and designation of hearing officer that acknowledges receipt of a request for a hearing, designates a hearing officer and sets the date of the hearing in accordance with Section 4-177 of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-1-21 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.  If a hearing is requested, the hearing will be held on May 26, 2010, at 10 a.m. at the Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut.
 
The hearing will be held in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 54 of the Connecticut General Statutes, unless any Respondent fails to appear at the requested hearing.  At such hearing, Respondents will have the right to appear and present evidence, rebuttal evidence and argument on all issues of fact and law to be considered by the Commissioner.
 
If Servicial does not request a hearing within the time prescribed, the Commissioner will issue an order that Servicial cease and desist from violating Sections 36a-17(d) and 36a-583 of the Connecticut General Statutes, and may order that the maximum civil penalty be imposed upon such Servicial.
 
If Chica does not request a hearing within the time prescribed, the Commissioner will issue an order that Chica cease and desist from violating Section 36a-581(a) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, as applicable, and may order that the maximum civil penalty be imposed upon Chica.
 
If Romero does not request a hearing within the time prescribed, the Commissioner will issue an order that Romero cease and desist from violating Section 36a-581(a) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, as applicable, and may order that the maximum civil penalty be imposed upon Romero.
 
 
 
So ordered at Hartford, Connecticut
this 26th day of March 2010.             ________/s/_________
                                                    Howard F. Pitkin
                                                    Banking Commissioner
 
 
 
CERTIFICATION
 
I hereby certify that on this 26th day of March 2010, the foregoing Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing was sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, to Servicial Group Corporation d/b/a Servicial, c/o John J. Ryan, Esq., Agent, P.O. Box 1085, Norwalk, Connecticut 06856, registered mail no. RB028034980US; Hector Chica, 291 Handover Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06606, registered mail no. RB028034993US; Celina Romero, 92-11 35th Avenue, Apt. 6G, Jackson Heights, New York 11372, registered mail no. RB028034295US; and John M. Gonzalez, 50 Old Mill Road, Weston, Connecticut 06883, registered mail no. RB028035000US.
 
 
                                                   ________/s/_________
                                                   Doniel Kitt
                                                   Prosecuting Attorney
 

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